Croatian kuna (KN)
Croatia is a European country located in Central and Southeast region of the continent. It borders Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east, and its coast lies along the Adriatic Sea. This small but rich country is the 127th largest in the world and its elevation ranges from 1,831 metres (6,007 feet), which is the elevation found within the Dinaric Alps, and that of the shore of the sea.
Travel to Croatia and see just how stunning the country is with impressive biodiversity, inspiring culture, and over one thousand islands and islets that vary in size.
WHY WE LOVE
We love Croatia for its culture, food, biodiversity, history, and beauty.
Don’t let its size fool you, this country might be small, but it packs a natural punch! As if there aren’t enough reasons to visit Croatia maybe the 11 nature parks, 8 national parks, and 2 nature reserves are enough to convince you to go. Not only that, Croatia also has the highest number of UNESCO Intangible Goods of any European country! Amazing right? But wait, it gets better.
When we say Croatia has incredible nature, we’re not kidding…all adventure-seekers and lovers of the outdoors should travel to Croatia for it is a country that can be subdivided between a number of ecoregions due to its climate and geomorphology. In fact, it is one of the richest countries in Europe in terms of biodiversity!
Travel to Croatia and discover its four biogeographical regions which include Mediterranean along the coast and in its immediate hinterland, Alpine, Pannonian along Drava and Danube, and continental.
Some of the most significant and stand out habitats are karst, which are cakelike cervices and opening that feature cascading water and swim holes. Areas such as Zrmanja and Krka feature breathtaking canyons and tufa barriers, as well as underground habitats! Karst house many animals including fish and bats and are perfect spaces for exploration.
Croatia’s interesting geographical region has also made it an ideal place for the blending of cultures.
Many different peoples have visited the region and left their mark, unsurprising considering the astounding historical sites the country boasts. This country represents a blend of four different cultural spheres and has been a crossroad of influences for many years. Croatia’s culture features aspects of both the west and the east with architecture and art deriving from Western Roman and the Byzantine Empires, as well as food and other inspiration from Mitteleuropa and the Mediterranean culture.
"Croatia has been glorious - it's so beautiful, and I want to go back as often as I can." Emilia Clarke, on shooting Game of Thrones
Did you know…?
- Dalmatians, the world’s most popular dog, come from Croatia.
- Kings Landing from the popular Game of Thrones TV show is filmed in Dubrovnik, the Croatian city.
- Croatia has 1,246 islands, isles, and inlets.
- Almost 10% of Croatia is made up of natural parks and or nature reserves!
- Croatia is home to Hum, the world’s smallest town.
- The famous inventor, engineer, physicist, and futurist, Nikola Tesla, was born in Siljan, Croatia.
- The Amphitheatre in Croatia is one of the only 3 preserved in the world.
- The oldest inhabited city in Europe is the eastern Croatian city of Vinkovci. The city has been inhabited for the past 8,000 years.
Croatia travel guide
When to go
We’re hoping you’re not tied up by school schedules because, in our opinion, the best time to go to Croatia is during the shoulder season. Travel to Croatia costs less during the months of May and June as well as September and October. Apart from there being lower flight fares, it is also important to keep in mind that this is a time when people are travelling less. This means less crowds and better sightseeing for you. These months are also ideal in that their temperatures are pleasant, not too hot and not too cold, this allows you to visit waterfalls, go swimming and sunbathing, as well as go sightseeing and on excursions throughout the country without having to deal with annoying crowds.
How to get there/around
Flying into Croatia is easy, most people travel to Croatia via Dubrovnik Airport which is the main airport located just 15 km from the city centre of the capital city.
There are buses, trains, taxis and Ubers available in Croatia.
The railway network is available but not always reliable and can be somewhat uncomfortable whereas intercity buses are punctual, air-conditioned and many feature free WiFi on board! Public city buses are a bit different, although many are slightly run-down and do not feature air-conditioning they are still a great method of transportation, it is extensive, cost-efficient, and offers an opportunity to chat with locals and or travel companions.
Taxis are very expensive in Croatia.
We recommend you use them if they are your only means of transportation and or if you are travelling with another person and or are in a group, that way you can split the cost between you. Please keep in mind that Uber is new in Croatia and only operates year-round bigger coastal towns such as Zagreb and Split. In other towns, like Dubrovnik, Zadar, and Rovinj, Uber operates seasonally. Zagreb also has the most competitive and cheapest taxi scene in all Croatia. So, while in Zagreb feel free to grab a cab, or two.
Renting a car can be both an affordable (especially during low season) and efficient way to see country.
This option not only gives you flexibility but allows you to take the scenic routes, there are many. Please keep in mind that some roads outside of cities such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik are worn and sometimes damaged. Make sure to keep an eye on your gas tank as you drive in Croatia. Gas stations are difficult to find along the Croatian countryside. You must be at least 18 years old to rent a car in Croatia, you must be at least 18 years old (age may vary by car category) and have held your license for one year. Usually, drivers under the age of 25 receive a surcharge.
What to see & do
Travel to Croatia and see all of its incredible wonders, between natural parks, reserves, World Heritage Sites, and historical towns, it is a country that has it all. We don’t recommend trying to pack everything into one trip, especially if you’re travelling for a short period of time, but we do recommend dedicating time to some of Croatia’s most prized areas.
If you’re interested in seeing spectacular landscapes and getting to know Croatia’s various waterways and its epic greenery we suggest you hit the natural parks and reserves. Croatia is home to spectacular waterfalls and terraced lakes like the ones in Plitvice Lakes National Park, which also happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that will blow your socks off!
You can also visit historic ports like the one found in Hvar, or go sailing wine-tasting, and or partake in water sports along beautiful towns like Korčula or Brač.
There are also nature reserves that feature monastic and castle ruins, like the ones found in Krka National Park. Places like Lumbarda also offer access to water sports, beautiful beaches, ruins, and loads of history!
What to pack
As a general rule of thumb, one can say that there are three different climates in Croatia. If you plan on visiting the mountains during the winter months the temperatures will be cooler as opposed to the coast during the summer. The northernmost parts of Croatia are cold, some parts have snowy winters and somewhat moderately warm summers. The southern sections of the country, those along the Adriatic coast, have a Mediterranean climate. This entails hot summers, cool winters, and relevantly pleasant temperatures year-round, nothing too extreme. You can pack to travel to Croatia during any time of the year, although we’d like to remind you that the country does in fact have four seasons. Also remember that the coast has a significant breeze. With that being said let’s get to the packing must:
Spring & Fall
- Closed shoes
- Sweater & scarf
- Windbreaker or light jacket
- Comfortable long pants
- Sunscreen (Croatian Sun is famous for its intensity)
- Light jacket
- Thick/wool sweater
- Beanie/winter hat
- Light, breathable clothing
- Light sneakers
- Light Jacket
- Sunscreen (Croatian Sun is famous for its intensity)
Some travel insights from our experts about Croatia
- If you still like to visit more than one place, stay somewhere central. Remember, Croatia might be small, but it is long, to get the most out of your trip it is best to do day trips from your base location.
- Yes, English is wildly spoken but learning Croatian phrases will get you a lot further than you might think with the locals.
- Croatia is a small country, usually what is produced there goes to the local market, but its land is rich and although grapes and olives are produced in small quantities compared to other countries, they are considered some of the best in Europe for the production of wine and oil. So, we urge you to GO WINE AND OLIVE OIL TASTING!
- Rental car companies will try to convince you that you NEED A GREEN CARD in order to cross any and all boarders in and around Croatia. This is simply not true. Green cards are required when crossing into Montenegro and or Slovenia, but not Bosnia. For those of you interested in driving to and from Dubrovnik, rest assured. The Bosnia border can be crossed without a green card.
Do: Purchase water shoes if you plan on visiting a lot of beaches. Although sand beaches exist, many of them have pebbles and or rocks.
Do: Bring cash. There are many cash only establishments throughout the country.
Do: Prepare to be spoken to/overhear conversations that sound louder than what you consider to be ‘normal’. Chances are people aren’t yelling at each other, they are probably just having a conversation.
Do: Gift the host. If someone invites you to their home make sure to bring some sort of present, it does not have to be extravagant, it could be something as simple as cookies, wine, chocolate, coffee, and or flowers. Flowers however should be an odd number and chrysanthemums should not be gifted, they are reserved for funerals.
Do: Enjoy the coffee. Croatia has a major coffee culture, and rarely will you find someone grab and go with a cup of joe. We suggest you sit down and take the time to savour your coffee.
Don’t: Travel to Croatia and expect service to be the same as in your home state and or country. Every culture is different, Croatians might be considered cold by Southern standards, keep in mind this does not mean that the people are rude but simply have a distinct way of offering services.
Don’t: Expect ferries to run regularly between islands. Ferry scheduling can be somewhat difficult to navigate, make sure to do your research before planning to do some island hopping.
Don’t: Fear the double kiss cheek, it’s a thing in Croatia as in many Europeans countries.
Don’t: Assume you can go topless everywhere, sorry ladies.
Don’t: Make too much noise and try not to phone a local between 2 – 5 pm, this is nap/siesta time.
Cuisine delights: 3 MUST-TRY CROATIAN DISHES
Croatian cuisine shares dishes and condiments with many parts of the world. Flavours have been adapted over time and differences between mainland cooking and cooking within the coastal regions are most prominent. With that being said, we have found the three dishes that have managed to unify all aspects and capture the essence of Croatian food.
Let’s start with what many coastal regions consider to be the unofficial national dish, Zagorski Štrukli. This nearly unpronounceable dish is delicious and authentic. Zagorski Štrukli is a cheese-based dish made with thin pastry, it is layered with a soft cheese that has somewhat of a cottage cheese-like texture. Most regions use their own local milk to create the cheese base therefore the flavour changes depending on the region.
Chances are every seafood restaurant you walk into while in Croatia will have crni rizot on its menu. Crni rizot is a squid risotto where squid ink is used to colour the rice. This delicious dish usually contains squid, mussels, clams and other shellfish. If you’re a fan of seafood, we suggest you take a bit out of some Crni rizot!
We also recommend you consume anything with truffles. Croatia is home to the biggest truffles in the world and has long been considered by many chefs and foodies as “truffle paradise”. Even the late great famous chef known as Anthony Bourdain has been quoted discussing the delicious truffles he’s had during his travels throughout Croatia. Bourdain even went as far as to say that Croatian food is one of the best unknown cuisines of the world!
CHATTING CORNER – SURVIVAL GUIDE - CROATIAN
English is widely spoken throughout Croatia but a little Croatian will go a long way. Below you will find some phrases that might come in handy throughout your travels.
- Hello – Zdravo
- How are you? - Kako ste?
- What is your name? - kako se zoveš
- My name is …. - Zovem se ...
- Where are you from? - Odakle ste?
- I am from …. ja sam iz
- How much is it? - koliko je to?
- Where is …? - gdje je...?
- Do you speak English? - GovoriŠ li engleski
- Thank you - Hvala vam
- Please - Molim
- Nice to meet you - drago mi je
- Cheers! - živjeli
- Beautiful - lijep
- Delicious - ukusno
- Excuse me - ispričajte me